Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Yes, we got another foot of snow in less than a week.  But this time, we made snowmen.  And next year, Aidan, I promise we won't put you in your sister's hand me down snow suit...but buy you a boy appropriate one lol!

Saturday, February 23, 2013


a : direct observation of or participation in events as a basis of knowledge
b : the fact or state of having been affected by or gained knowledge through direct observation or participation
This is one of those posts that has been running around my head for a while this evening, and I'm not sure what form it is going to take.

Sometimes, I hate that I have the experiences that I have.  Sometimes I hate that I know what I know.  I hate that I watch with bated breath and count down the weeks for anyone I know who is pregnant.  I hate when I see pregnancies become difficult.  I hate how helpless it makes me feel.  I hate how helpless I once felt.  I hate that I can't fix it.  I hate that I know what it's like to be in "Holland."

I hate that I will never be able to go through a pregnancy with blind anticipation.  I'll never be able to plan.  Because I know, deep down, that those plans can be broken.  Upended.  Forever rendered as futile.  That things can change in an instant.

And yet through those experiences, I've found a purpose.  A reason.  Somewhere to place my heart and give of it.  People,  and miracles, who have forever changed me in more ways than my Holland experience did.  People and experiences who have shown me more about the power of perseverance and the human spirit that I ever dared to know.

So it's a strange place to be.  On one hand, hating that I've been there, and on the other hand not entirely able to wish to change it.  For all of the good that did come of it.  How do you explain that at the same time you hate something, you love it?

It's something that will probably always be a tug of war in my mind, in my heart, in my soul.  

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Historic day!?

I'm not sure if the "official" word is in but this has got to be one of the biggest snow storms I've seen since I've lived in the midwest.  I've seen larger when I lived in Wyoming, but this one was the most fun.  Nonetheless it WAS a storm where the total amount of snowfall was more than we've had this last year...and probably the last 2.

So we had to get out and enjoy it.  :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

And then there were 2.

After all the drama and trauma associated with my daughter, you can probably understand how big of a decision it was to make to try for another.  In fact, I can chalk it up there with one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make.  We had always said we wanted 3 children and then we went through what we did with Elisa and I was no longer so sure.  In fact, one sounded really good!

It wasn't a decision we took lightly and in fact we did a lot of research, interviewing, discussing with medical professionals, etc, before we decided to try for that second child.  We learned that it was best to not try to get pregnant until 18 months after Elisa's birth.  So that was our plan and with that in mind, we stopped birth control at 16 months in order to allow my body to sort of "regulate" after wards and see what sort of cycle I was going to be on.  Seeing how it took almost 3 years and two miscarriages with a year between each of the three pregnancies, I didn't see it as being any sort of problem to stop 2 months early.  It would give me time to see what my body was going to do.

So enter April of 2011.  It was tax deadline week.  And I was on another business trip.  I was exHAUSTED beyond belief and just feeling off.  I didn't think much of it, my chart didn't show any real ovulation shift and I'd had cold type symptoms so just thought I was run down from a cold.  A friend, though, convinced me to try and test just in case.  So I did just to get her off my back.  :)  (Love you Jen!) And it was negative.   Didn't think anything of it since as far as I knew anyway, I hadn't ovulated.  I went on with that week, drinking like a fish and taking over the counter cold medications to help me sleep and cope with my cold.

I fly home that Friday and get in somewhat late.  I go to bed and pass out.  And I do mean pass out.  I haven't slept like that EVER without help.  I slept in the next morning, which was unusual and even with that still needed a nap after my shower.  I started thinking, this is just weird, what's going on here.  So on a whim, I pull out the one test I happened to have in the house.

I about fell off my seat on the toilet when that second line popped up.  1.  I didn't even show ovulation in my charting.  2.  I do NOT get pregnant this easily.  So I called my husband into the bathroom and showed him the cheapie test.  He looks at it, looks at me with confusion on his face and says, "You aren't pregnant.  The 2nd line isn't dark enough."  Goober.  This isn't an ovulation test, I tell him, but pregnancy and a line is a line is a line on this kind of test.  I'm PREGNANT.  Go get another test if you want.

And he did.  And brought his brother with him.  And didn't even try to buy it covertly.  I could have murdered him lol.  He's lucky I love him.  :)  Test number two.

And so began another frantic round of phone calls, blood draws, ultrasounds just to confirm that this was a viable pregnancy.  At the first ultrasound, we find out that I'm actually almost 4 days behind where I thought I should have been based off of my assumed dates.  Remember my chart never showed a true, strong indicator of ovulation, but here I was with a positive pregnancy test and blood work also showing pregnant and with numbers increasingly nicely.  Even though I kept spotting every few days.  Due date was determined as December 29, 2011.  Daddy's birthday.

This child was determined to make their mark.  Spotting, nausea, morning sickness, all the things I never really experienced with Elisa.  Maybe that was a good thing?  I promised myself I would enjoy this pregnancy.  I never did with Elisa's, just too afraid of all that could go wrong and then every thing did go wrong.   But this time I was going to take each day for the blessing that it was.

14 weeks I felt the first fluttery movements.  16 weeks I started P17 injections.  18 weeks we had an ultrasound to check cervix as well as anatomy.  We decided to not find out again the sex of the baby and hopefully would have a term baby and a fun moment in the delivery room when we finally found out. 

Baby looked great!  Big, but great!  Cervix was HUGE and tight.  Another ultrasound at 22 weeks showed the same, so incompetent cervix was ruled out as the cause of my delivery with Elisa. we are in the realm of the "unknown" what will happen here.

At 20 weeks I began showing signs of gestational diabetes.  Sugar kept showing up in my urine at my regular check ups.  Combined with the baby's growth also showing signs of GD (the size of the belly was almost 2 weeks ahead of the rest of the growth, an indicator the baby is putting on more fat than normal and an early indicator of GD.)  At 23 weeks, I had my first trip to L&D with regular contractions and after a good carbohydrate full meal.  Diagnosis was a UTI and I also showed, again, elevated levels of sugar in my urine.  So I pushed for GD testing early and was ultimately diagnosed at 25 weeks.  Well before they even begin testing for it at 27-28 weeks.  I mean I failed the test miserably.  Like there was no question lol.

28 weeks I ended up in L&D again with regular contractions.  No UTI, but no change in my cervix so I was sent home with a prescription for anti anxiety meds that also calm the uterus.  This became my best friend for the rest of the pregnancy.  As I contracted a LOT from 19 weeks on.  And I do mean a lot.  Especially the closer it was to have another p17 shot.  And if I had too much sugar.

29 weeks 1 day came and went...and I was still pregnant.  I entered uncharted territory.  I'd never been this pregnant before.  I loved it.  Baby and I played "poke" games.  He would stick his foot in my ribs and kill me, I would push him out.  He'd stick his foot right back in.  He was always high and head down.  And big.  Every ultra sound we had showed he was almost 2 weeks ahead in size. 

Every week that passed was a huge milestone.  I loved it.  I took pictures at every new week of my belly.  I almost didn't, for fear of what if I didn't make it again?  But back to my decision to enjoy this pregnancy for as long as I was pregnant, I went ahead and did it.  My goal was 39 weeks, but I would be happy with 37.

And then, it was here.  Week 37.  I went into my regular appointment, for the first time not having had a p17 shot!  What an odd feeling.  :)  I wasn't expecting much since I felt "fine."  As fine as I could with my belly out as far as it was and all of those normal late pregnancy discomforts.  So it was quite surprising when I went in and the nurse taking my blood pressure suddenly became very quiet.   I saw her reach over and write down a number 140/105.  Knowing all those that I do who had their preemies due to pre-eclampsia I went oh.  That's not good.  She said very quietly to lay on my left side and took it again, this time coming up with 140/100.  She left me there and went and got the doctor.  I thought for sure I wasn't leaving the hospital that day, what with my history.  Doc came in and went over everything with me and then asked if I knew what changes to look out for with my blood pressure as high as it was.  I did, but I asked her to go ahead and check my cervix, since I knew that I couldn't labor with the kind of c-section I'd had with Elisa.   She did and I was 3-4 cm!  I thought surely, I'm not going home, she's going to send me right over to L&D to be prepped for surgery.  But she did send me home, saying I needed to be a 5 and since I wasn't feeling active labor it wasn't a concern yet.

I wasn't home for long.  We had arranged a pre-planned night to send Elisa to grandma's for a date night for us.  We were just getting ready to leave for dinner when suddenly, I couldn't really see.  I could see but couldn't focus and it was giving me a headache trying.  I texted my best friend who had pre-e and asked if this would qualify as changes in vision.  Yeah, she was like umm yes.  So off we went to L&D.  (I snapped the picture below on my way out, realizing I hadn't done my 37 week one yet.)

Turns out my blood pressure was fine, but contractions were showing on the monitor (and I was feeling them.  Not like I had with Elisa, but enough that I knew they were there and not the same as the BH I'd had all along.)  Nurse checked and sure enough, I was a 5.  Baby was coming!  I could actually be excited.  Even with the downer nurse who made it a point to say to me "you know 37 weeks is still technically pre-term."  Gee, thanks lady.  You just had to punch me in the gut huh?

Anyway, prepped for surgery, doc pulled baby out and he SCREAMED.  And I do mean SCREAMED.  I about bawled my eyes out.  Husband looked over and exclaimed like a kid in the candy store "it's a boy!"  We had our boy and our girl!  He swallowed some amniotic fluid on delivery so needed some help breathing but he recovered nicely.  I didn't get to see or hold him until I was moved to recovery, but that was still a heck of a lot quicker than I saw my daughter.

How sad is it that one of the first things I thought as I watched him in his bed was that it was strange to be the one hooked up to more wires....

Welcome to the world baby boy.  You have been a challenge in a different way than your sister, but you are my world and I can't imagine it without you.

Monday, February 4, 2013


And the story continues.  Who knew this would take three posts just to detail the pregnancy of my first born?

I left off as I was leaving home to head to a business trip to Arizona and I just knew something wasn't entirely right.  Here is where things really get interesting.

As we were making the approach to Phoenix's airport, I suddenly felt sick.  And I mean SICK.  Not puking sick but oh I felt horrible.  I can't really explain how I felt, really, but it was like I was going to die.  Thinking back now, I wonder if I had some sudden rush of hormones, or a blood sugar attack or something.  I chalked it up to being exhausted from the days travel and the trek through the airport at the layover.  We deplaned and I headed to get my checked baggage and decided to hit the bathroom before waiting for my luggage.  TMI ALERT....if you don't want to know this...skip to the next paragraph lol.  While using the restroom, I felt something "slide" out and when I looked...there was this big, cylindrical mucus-y blob in the toilet.  And I went, that can't be good.

Knowing beyond a doubt that at 26 weeks and 3 days pregnant I had just lost my plug, I called my doctor.  Why?  Who in the world knows.  Maybe to find out if this really was a big deal?  I mean, I had heard that people lose it early all the time.  As I'm sitting there waiting for my luggage and chewing the heck out of my cheeks, I wait on hold for what seemed like forever before getting to a nurse who said she'd check and call me back.  When she finally called back I was already on the bus to the rental car facility, and was told to head to the hospital.  But now I had to wait for my car.  A friend in town told me to go to Banner Good Samaritan that was right by the airport. 

An hour later and a few wrong turns, I finally made it to the hospital.  The doctor doing the initial history interview even said she felt certain she would be releasing me in several hours, that people lose them all the time.  I'll be honest.  So much here is stocked back into the realm of my subconscious and who knows if I'll ever remember it.  But I don't think I was hooked up to any sort of monitors yet.  I was just in the gown and she came in to check the cervix and I watched her face as she did it.  Her expression went to one of some sort of shock and then confusion as she asked "Do you feel that?"

"Feel what?"

Then she turned to the nurse and said "1 cm, contracting to 2."

Uhhhh, what?  I had asked previously if I should call my husband and she said not yet.  This time when I asked, she said yes.

I barely had time to call him.  I think he must have called my mom.  I don't know.  People were flying around me, shoving IV's in my arm, shoving steroids into the muscles in my rear, hooking me up to machines and craming an ultrasound machine onto my belly.  The doctor does a quick look and says to me, "you know it's a boy, right?" "Uh, no."  Then she's quiet again.  My mom calls but I can't talk so I hand the phone to the doctor as they are wheeling me out to the l&d ward (up until then I had just been in the "triage" area.)  I suddenly feel like I'm going to puke.  I mean, I know I'm going to puke.  I barely had time to get the words out and a nurse get there with a bucket when I start puking my guts out.  Helllllo magnesium.

I still remember the face, but don't remember the name, of the perinatologist who was next to my bed as I puked my guts out with my naked bum out for all to see (I had been placed on my left side in an effort to stop the contractions.)  He patted my arm and said "You'll be ok.  It will all be ok."  Such simple words but I could tell in his tone that this was not just a job to him.  He cared.  He cared about me and my baby.  He truly did.  I wish I could remember who he was.

Oh there is so much to tell at this point.  They finally got the contractions stopped and the forward momentum stopped for the moment.  My husband arrived the next morning, my parents the next afternoon.  We had a few relatively "easy" days.  I got the 2nd round of steroids and they went to stop the magnesium.

There were many "scares" to come.  26 weeks, 6 days, I had an amniocentesis because I started contracting once the magnesium wore off.  They wanted to make sure I didn't have an infection before starting the mag again.  I didn't, so hello mag again.  27 weeks 2 days, I was stable enough and off of mag long enough they moved me to ante-partum for the remainder of my stay.  We kept trying to get a repeat ultrasound to confirm the "boy" we heard in that frantic moment in triage.  Every time, Shrimp had the umbilical cord in between the legs or refused to show the "goods."  Since we had not known before this the sex of the baby, we were kind of wanting to know.  Finally at 27 weeks and 5 days I think, during a non-stress test they performed we found out.  Girl.  We also found out I was diabetic. 

28 weeks and 6 days, I apparently became unstable enough that I was moved back to Labor and delivery.  This was news to me.  I had just had my regular evening monitoring session and I didn't feel all that many contractions.  Nothing more than what had been "normal" for me.  At this point I was already dialated to about a 5.  I didn't see any reason for a move, but at 10 pm the doctor on the floor came in to tell me I was being moved.  They initially wanted to move me across the hall to a tiny room but I threw a fit as I had already been moved 4 times by then and as I didn't see the reason for his move, I didn't feel it was necessary.  Just being told I was "de-stabilizing" with out proof of it I wasn't going to cooperate.  They decided to move me down to L&D and just leave me there.

I guess it was good that they did.  29 weeks and 1 day, into my 2nd day of being back on the mag and sometime that afternoon (2? 3? Not sure when exactly) I called my husband to let him know it was just a normal day, everything was fine.  I started feeling pain, and I mean a lot of pain.  I thought I had to poop so asked for some "help."  While using the restroom, again I felt something down "there" I shouldn't, so as I came back in I told the nurse.  She hooked me back up and onto the monitors and called the doctors in.

At this point I was in so much pain I kept forgetting to breathe.  Turns out, if I remember correctly, the bands weren't placed right and weren't picking up the contractions I was having every two minutes.  Lasting a minute.  Wouldn't have mattered if they did, there was no stopping this.  Doctor came in and checked me and I was 7 cm and her foot was in the birth canal as my sack was bulging so much and I was so far dialated.  It became, at that moment, safer for her to be out, than in.  At around 4pm, I was told I would be having a baby that day.

30 minutes later I began the prep for an emergency c-section.  About an hour later, she was here.

I never heard her cry.  She didn't make a peep.  I remember just looking up at the lights and feeling like I couldn't breathe.  My mom was in there with me, since obviously my husband couldn't get on a plane and make the 4 hour plane ride to be there in time.  There was a "calm" in the room so I knew she was ok.  And mom told me she could see "pink."  Again another sign everything was ok.  After awhile she was given permission to take pictures of her and show them to me.  She did but I couldn't really comprehend.  Even as she was wheeled past me on the way to the NICU and I looked at her in that isolette,  I couldn't comprehend.

My beautiful baby girl.  This wasn't the way it was supposed to be.  But it was, and I can't change that.  I hope that you will know and understand just how amazing your story is, and just how amazing you are.  You've done so much in your short life already.  You are different and that is OK.  This is nothing to be ashamed of.  You don't have the normal "beauty" pictures of your first days on this earth, but your story far surpasses that.

For those of you who may be reading this for the first time and are wondering - she's fine.  She's 3 years and in all the throes of that age.  She's healthy, on track, extremely bright.  She spent 6 weeks in the NICU and has never looked back.  Not once.  Me?  I can't help but look back, but it doesn't always hurt as much as it once did.  But with you in my life, how can it?  It may not have happened the way I wanted it to, but I have you in the end.  What more can I need?  So I can only spend the rest of my days thankful for that.

And the plot thickens

And we left off before the "real" fun began lol.

Enter 20 weeks.  Half way through.  I can start to relax, right?  It's should be smooth sailing from here.  Less fear of a sudden loss.  Surely at this point they can do something about it should something go wrong.  Right?

21 weeks and I fly to LA for business.  I notice my first day there that I am peeing a LOT more.  I mean a LOT more.  Like every 30 minutes.  No big.  I have some belly.  Evening comes and my back is KILLING me.  And I mean killing me, fall down and want to bawl killing me.  But I push through, get through the dinner and back to my hotel room.  I'm woken in the middle of the night by lower pelvic cramps and think, huh. That's odd.  They stop after a few minutes and I go back to sleep.

I wake the next morning and they continue, as well as the frequent bathroom trips.  A call into my doctor and I'm told to go to the hospital.  In LA.  Since I could be in labor.  Really?  So off we go...and after a trip to urgent care (thinking it would be faster than an ER) and after a 90 minute wait to get pulled back to be told that I'm too far along to be seen in urgent care and that I need to go to the ER.  Nice.  So off to the be shipped up to Labor and Delivery.  I'm thinking now this is service!  Hooked up to monitors and peeing in a cup...and they have trouble finding the heartbeat.  So of course I freak.  Thinking here it is.  It's over.  Nope, just turns out baby is small and hiding and my uterus is showing signs of "irritability."  Basically very small contractions that aren't strong enough or long enough to cause any change in cervix.  I'm diagnosed with an UTI and sent home.

24 weeks and I wake up over night with strong, painless contractions at 6 an hour.  I drink water, change positions, pee, and yet they continue for 2 hours.  Call my doctor, who somehow fails to get the message.  An hour later, contractions still continuing and no call back, I call again.  At least this time I get an immediate response and am told to make my second trip to L&D.  Sent home again, this time with just "one of those things" as the "diagnosis" and told to call again if they start back up.  Which they didn't.

At the tail end of 25 weeks and 5 days, we head off to watch a friends soccer game and I noticed that I had some pretty sharp cramping.  Thinking I'm not drinking enough, I start stocking up on the liquid and resting.  They stop and I go on with the evening.  25 weeks and 6 days, the cramping starts again that evening.  Laying down and drinking water and they stop, but I decide to call my doctor the next morning anyway, thinking I had another UTI.  26 weeks, I call in and am told they are most likely stretching pains and not to worry.  The cramping returns that evening.  26 weeks and 1 day, I notice an increase in discharge, so I call again and demand to be tested for a UTI.  They agree, test me and it comes back negative.  They are unconcerned about the increase in discharge, again telling that this is just "normal almost 3rd trimester symptoms."  26 weeks and 2 days, cramping returns in the I'm packing for my trip to Arizona.  I drink water, and head to bed, thinking this must just be my pattern anymore.

26 weeks 3 days.  I wake up that morning and immediately notice something is different.  I'm still feeling this low pelvic cramping/pain.  But I brush it off and head to the airport.  After all, my doctor kept insisting this was normal for this point in the pregnancy.  But I wasn't feeling "right."

Friday, February 1, 2013

I wonder if I can actually do this.

A friend of mine recently went through and chronicled both of her pregnancies with her boys (and one loss) and compiled from the beginning to the end the major points of their "birth stories."  And reading through them I thought that was pretty neat.  I should do that.

But I hesitated...still do really, because I don't know if I can go DOWN that road yet of remember Elisa's pregnancy.  I mean it's not like I have forgotten it really.  It's imprinted in my mind vividly.  But to put it into words is like giving it a new sort of "life" or "reality" that, still, I'm not entirely ready to deal with.

So here goes. 


To give you a history into my mindset when I first found out I was pregnant with Elisa, you need to know that in July of 2007 and May of 2008 I had early miscarriages.  Before I would even hit 6 weeks, I would lose the baby.  In August of 2008, I had a laproscopy and hysteroscopy that determined I had stage 4 endometriosis and this had caused my early miscarriages.  My endocrinologist and reproductive specialist decided that with this history, it was important that I get pregnant quickly afterwards so suggested we use femara and hcg injections to cause ovulation on a predictable schedule.  We did this three times and that's where we start.

To be honest, I don't remember exact days.  I wasn't good at writing things down.  I knew with the regimen I was on, that I was to test 14 days after trigger if I hadn't started a new cycle.  Well, this day in May (I think it was May 4) was "test" day.  It was a Tuesday.  But I didn't feel pregnant.  Not like the last two times.  I had no symptoms whatsoever.  So I didn't test that morning, I just KNEW this cycle was a bust too.  Actually, I didn't test until that Thursday when I knew I had to call the office and start up the next round and they would ask me if I had.  So I did.

Imagine my complete and utter shock when that second line appeared.  My hands shook, my stomach dropped to my toes.  I thought I would puke.  You'd have thought I would have been elated.  Instead I was terrified.  Here's what we had been fighting for now for 2 years.  But I couldn't handle another miscarriage.  I just couldn't.

I called my husband at work.  He couldn't say much but I could just hear the joy in his voice as he responded with "oh cool!"  That's all he could say before he had to hang up.

We started immediately charting the HCG up...and up...and up.  Numbers did great and at 6 weeks, we got our first peak.  I went into that appointment terrified.  I just knew when I walked in, HE would be gone.

But there he was.  Right on target.  Right where he was supposed to be.  And still there.  I still don't think I believed it, really.  But at 8 weeks, we had another ultrasound and confirmed growth right on target and a good heart rate.  At 10 we heard the heartbeat over a doppler and I was officially "released" from the reproductive specialist to my OB.  12 weeks came and went....and I was still pregnant.  By this time, I'd felt comfortable enough to have a nickname for the pregnancy.  "Shrimp."  Because he looked like a shrimp in some of the pictures they would show of the different stages of pregnancy.  It just stuck.

At 15 weeks I finally lost the little bit of nausea I had and also had a bit of spotting.  Of course I was not in town at the time so couldn't get to my OB until the next week and I spent those days convincing myself he was ok.  A quick scan determined shrimp was fine and the spotting was just one of those things.  At 18 we had our anatomy scan.  Again, I went in terrified they would tell me he was gone.  But there he was.  Everything looked great.  But at the 15 week scan, the tech had noted she saw a malformation of my uterus and the 18 week confirmed it.  I was told I had a heart shaped uterus and that I was at risk for pre-term labor.  My OB said it was unlikely before 35 weeks but at that time they would begin watching me closely. 

I'd had a bad feeling about this pregnancy from the beginning.  I never could put a finger on it as to why.  I just knew something wasn't right with it.  I just knew in the end I wouldn't get my baby.  I just knew in the end I would be devastated again.  My instincts kept screaming it at me, but I kept pushing them back down, telling myself it was all because of the prior losses.  I finally went on some anti anxiety to keep things at bay.  Little did I know what was to come.

I'll have to stop here.  It's late and there is much, much more to this story.  Those of you who know me and have followed me for a while know just how much more there is lol!